“Dead Sprint” (6 min cap):
When I think about winter, I think about hearty cooked greens, slow roasted squash, and braised meats. So this week I decided to go with a hearty winter squash salad. Though the term winter squash is a bit misleading, as they are harvested in the fall but survive the winter months. Squash are naturally low in fat and rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. Such include vitamins A (sourced from beta carotene)and B6, responsible for proper function of the nervous and immune system. Also, vitamins C, E, and potassium, which are important for bone growth. Not only are they full of nutrients but also beautiful and offer several textures, colors, and flavors. Squash can be cooked almost anyway, its sweet but mild flavors render it able to compliment almost any dish. I really enjoy grilling squash when the weather permits. Charring the natural sugars over a wood fire. They can be used in casseroles, lasagna, soups, and even desserts. Go to the local health food store, they are more apt to have a larger variety than your local King Poopers. Buy a couple and see which ones you prefer and for what. Even if you cannot get to them right away, they’ll last. For this recipe I used a Kabocha squash; a nuttier, sweeter flavor. You may use any squash, the only thing that is going to vary is cook time, based on how big the squash is. I typically hack em in half, scoop out the guts and seeds, lightly oil, season, and roast at about 350 to 400 degrees till tender. Also, you can dehydrate the seeds for a tasty snack, just like pumpkin seeds. You most likely will have some left over squash from this recipe. Using the Cashew cream recipe from week one, puree them together, adding a little water to your desired thickness and you have a delicious soup base.
Warm Squash and Kale Salad w/ Bacon Maple Vinaigrette
4 sprigs of thyme (cleaned and chopped)
2 sprigs of rosemary (cleaned and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Start by cutting the squash in half long ways, scoop out the guts and seeds. You may definitely keep the seeds if you wish to dehydrate for a tasty snack. Lightly oil the squash with olive oil and season with herbs, salt and pepper. Roast the squash about 45 minutes to an hour at 400 degrees, or untill tender. Let cool and then scoop out the cooked squash meat, set aside.
1 slice of thick slab nitrate free bacon (chopped)
5 Brussels sprouts (cut the root off and then ¼)
¼ cup minced onion
1 bunch of kale (stems removed and leaves hand shredded)
2 cups of cooked squash
¼ apple (cut into ½ moon slices)
¼ cup walnuts (hand crushed)
2 Tbsp Maple syrup (pure grade A)
2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flake
Start off with your chopped bacon in a medium low heat pan (my electric oven says 5). Use a spoon to move the bacon around as it browns and the fat renders off. After about a minute, throw in your quartered Brussels sprouts. Once your sprouts start to brown, add in onion, continuing to stir at medium low heat. After about total 3 minutes, add in the hand-shredded kale, still stirring. Once the Kale is slightly cooked down, only about a minute, it should still be tender and holding structure. Toss the 2 cups of your already cooked squash into the pan, just to warm. Next, remove all contents from the pan into a medium sized mixing bowel; add in walnuts and apple slices. Now come back to the still warm but off the heat pan, pour in maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Rotate the liquid around the pan and then pour into the bowl of hearty salad deliciousness. Toss the salad, season with salt, pepper and red pepper flake. If your feelin it, you may add some chopped chicken breast. It’s a pretty hearty salad though and it is enough for 2 servings.
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